Tuesday, August 22, 2017
After Arrogate mystifyingly laid such a huge egg in the San Diego Handicap, the ensuing weeks leading up to the Pacific Classic had to have Bob Baffert extremely edgy, along with everybody else who had anointed him as the latest superstar of the thoroughbred world. Which was, everybody.
Was it an aberration, or was the San Diego bomb a harbinger of things to come? The finish of the Pacific Classic failed to answer the question. Was Arrogate the colt who seemed disinterested turning for home, or the one who found renewed enthusiasm the last eighth of a mile only to fall half a length short of catching Collected? The head-scratching will now continue until his next start, possibly the Breeders' Cup Classic.
One thing that the last nine winners (over 11 years) of the Horse of the Year title shared is a tremendous amount of charisma, and none lost two in a row near the end of their careers. Invasor (2006) won his last five in a row, all Gr. I's. Curlin (2007-2008) was on a roll, but lost his final start in the Classic. Ditto for Rachel Alexandra (2009), who finished second in her finale, the Personal Ensign. Zenyatta (2010) was on a 19-race winning streak before it ended in a thrilling finale in the Classic. Havre de Grace (2011) closed out her fabulous career winning her last start, and Wise Dan (2012-2013) won his last five in a row and 14 of his last 15. California Chrome bombed in the Pegasus before retiring, like Arrogate's San Diego, but had gone 7-1-0 in his previous eight. And American Pharoah closed out 2015 winning the Classic.
Arrogate can erase the memories of his last two efforts with a victory in the Breeders' Cup, but the luster of his awesome accomplishments leading up to San Diego will be severely tarnished if he blows three in a row, despite his monstrous record bankroll built on unreal purses in Dubai and the Pegasus World Cup.
STILL SEARCHING - I still haven't been able to find a list anywhere that reveals if any broodmare has ever produced four millionaires, like Live Oak Plantation's Win Approval. World Approval's latest score in the Gr. I Fourstardave boosted his bank account to $1,443,763, and he appears to be far from ready to hang it up. He can pass the first of his siblings, Revved Up ($1,548,653) after another race or two, then he'll go after Za Approval ($1,904,666) and Miesques Approval ($2,648,879), although the latter may prove to be quite a difficult chore, unless there's a Breeder's Cup race or two on tap.
CASH IS FLOWING - While the Powerball has reached unreal proportions once again, possibly making another billionaire if it isn't hit soon, Woodbine's Super High 5 could make someone a millionaire. After nobody hit the wager over the weekend, the pool is up to $967,356.
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